Further Accuride investments to benefit steel wheel business
Commercial vehicle wheel and component manufacturer Accuride Corporation plans to invest more than US$30 million over the next two years in upgrading its steel wheel facilities during 2013-15. Specifics of this investment have not been given at this time; the US-based company says it will announce details of its 2013 capital programme later this year.
The newly-announced upgrades build upon a $150 million investment programme launched in 2011 and now mostly completed. This investment aimed to restructure and expand Accuride’s core wheel and wheel-end component operations and upgrade the capabilities of each of its four business units. These investments included $55 million for additional aluminium wheel capacity, more than $35 million to restructure and upgrade the company’s ‘Gunite’ brake and wheel component business, and $21 million in environmental and safety-related facility upgrades. Today, with its aluminium wheel manufacturing investments complete, Accuride has doubled its production capacity for forged aluminium wheels, while the programme to install advanced machining and assembly equipment, upgrade casting for the Gunite brand and consolidate its manufacturing footprint is 90 per cent complete.
Reporting the company’s activities at the Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week 2013 in Las Vegas on 21 January, Accuride stated that its actions to restore the competitiveness and dependability of its core North American operations are resulting in marked gains in quality, delivery, and lead-time performance, which are the metrics it says matter most to customers. Due to the resulting positive impact on customer confidence, the company recently earned new long-term agreements with several key customers, who represent more than 70 per cent of its core wheel business. Accuride also secured new aluminium wheel business of up to $30 million annually that it will serve using its newly-expanded aluminium capacity. This leaves, Accuride added, additional aluminium capacity open; it can use this to respond rapidly to growth in customer demand if and when the projected recovery in the North American commercial vehicle industry occurs in the second half of 2013.
“The majority of our programme to restore dependable operational performance across Accuride is now complete and already yielding gains in product quality, delivery, lead-times, pricing and competitiveness,” said Rick Dauch, Accuride president and CEO. “Thanks to the investments we have made in our core business, we are quickly regaining customers’ faith in our ability to support their needs while positioning ourselves for the projected market recovery to come.”